At some point during your treatment of Lyme disease you’ve probably experienced exaggerated symptoms… debilitating headaches, joint pain, fatigue, digestive problems, mood swings and brain fog, etc… or you may have some symptoms peculiar to you. At times you might try to shrug them off as part of the game in treating the illness, but on days when you’re relegated to the couch or bed, it makes you not want to treat the illness at all. What can you do?
Before we get into what can help, let’s get into the mechanics of what is happening to you…
What is a “Herx?”
A Jarrish-Herxheimer reaction or “die-off syndrome” is caused by the presence of toxic chemicals (endotoxins) released from the cell walls of dying bacteria. These toxins can trigger cytokines (small secreted proteins released by cells) to initiate inflammation and pain. It is a common reaction in Lyme patients during intensive treatment and sometimes even during periods of non-treatment. Due to the release of toxins, the body experiences an exaggerated inflammation response and a flaring of symptoms, coupled with the possible emergence of new symptoms. The typical Herxheimer reaction or “Herx” lasts a few hours to a few days depending on the intensity of treatment and the body’s inflammation response. Many patients also experience a brief period of feeling better shortly after the herxing has subsided.
Although a die off or detox reaction is usually short lived, it can be more prolonged or intense if the organs of elimination (especially the liver and kidneys) are overburdened and detox pathways are blocked. In these instances, treatments may require reevaluation, and individuals may need to investigate additional factors involved in heightened histamine, and cytokine production. Mast cell degranulation can be another cause of painful or protracted symptoms, and increased histamine levels may need to be addressed.
Steps to Stop a Herx
These steps have been proven to eliminate Herxheimer reactions within a few hours.
- Begin drinking 2 ounces of water every 10 minutes. Increased water intake will flush the system of toxins and open detox pathways. Sipping (not guzzling) as much as 3 liters (or 3 quarts) of water throughout the day is preferred. Note: You can add multiple mineral salts to your water to keep electrolytes stable. The best type of water to drink has natural minerals, electrolytes and a higher alkalinity to keep the body hydrated and to help reduce acid levels that pathogens prefer. Natural mineral waters and spring waters like Fiji, Volvic, Voss, Evian, Acqua Panna, etc. are preferred. Structured water is also an excellent source where the water molecules have actually been reduced and ionized to make the water more absorbable and activated to aid detoxing. Waters NOT preferred are distilled water and double-osmosis filtered waters which are considered “dead waters.” These water sources have no natural minerals and electrolytes and can actually leech these same minerals out of the body if ingested in high amounts.
- Start taking eyedroppers full of Burbur-Pinella detox until you feel better. There are two ways to do this… 1. Squirt four full eyedroppers into a 16.9 ounce bottle of water and sip over a 2 hour period until symptoms disappear… or 2. Squirt 20 drops into a 6 ounce glass of water and drink and repeat every 15 minutes until symptoms disappear. For particularly bad herxes involving pain and headaches, you can supplement the above procedure with your favorite pain reliever (including Alka-Seltzer Gold). The herb in Burbur is very effective in aiding detoxification of the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. Pinella is reported to be very effective in eliminating both man-made and biotoxins from the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system.
- Take one of these strong toxin binders:
A. Take 1-2 capsules of BioToxin Binder. This product acts as a systemic biotoxin binder, containing a special form of carbon that has an increased binding ability. It is formulated specifically to support binding biotoxins like mycotoxins from mold, ammonia from bacteria, and parasites and other byproducts from yeast, fungi, and viruses. Unlike activated charcoal that only works in the gut and binds to everything it touches, these capsules work throughout your entire system and support cellular respiration. Take 1-2 capsules upon the onset of a herx and then 1 capsule with every meal to keep flushing toxins all day long.
B. Take 3 capsules of Takesumi Supreme. This carbonized bamboo (finely-ground bamboo charcoal) is well known in Japan but is just now becoming familiar in the U.S. It is known to bind with heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and can help alleviate food sensitivities. It also adsorbs mycotoxins and endotoxins and helps facilitate liver and kidney function. Because of the porous nature of the bamboo, it is an amazing absorber of toxins – up to 10 times stronger than activated charcoal. Research from Japan claims it emits far infrared rays (thus improving circulation) as well as negative ions, and it shields the body from EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields). It also is a natural source of minerals (macro and trace) and is reported to be alkalizing.
- Get the license plate of the truck that hit you. In other words, pay attention to the dosage, treatment time or supplement that might’ve caused the problem. The next time you’re due to take it, either skip the next dose or cut the dose in half until you recover. Consider backing down on the dose amount if symptoms recur. The point is to stay on track with your treatment and to not get knocked down so hard that you are forced off of your daily schedule or treatment plan.
Further steps you can take:
- Eliminate foods that are known to cause inflammation like refined sugar, processed foods and dairy products
- Get plenty of rest
- Take Glutathione, an antioxidant produced naturally in the body that is comprised largely of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine. It is known to support the immune system, help with liver function, break down free radicals, transport mercury out of the brain, and help with brain and nerve cell support. It is a vital long-term support for most Lyme patients.
- Depending on your comfort level, coffee enemas and Cistus tea enemas are something to consider for a fast and dramatic way to detox your system. According to the Gerson Institute, coffee enemas stimulate the body into generating glutathione, and if a patient holds the coffee in the colon for 12-15 minutes, the body’s entire blood supply passes through the liver 4-5 times, carrying poisons picked up from the tissues. In this way, a coffee enema acts as a form of dialysis of the blood across the gut wall. So not only does the enema clear out toxic debris from the intestines, but it activates the liver for further detoxing. We recommend watching this video for instructions on how you can do your own coffee enema at home.
- Soak in an Epson Salts bath (unless you have sulfur sensitivity, then use mineral or Dead Sea salt detox baths)
- Dry brushing the skin with a loofah sponge or special brush can stimulate the lymphatic system and should be done prior to a detox bath
- In case of emergencies, take activated charcoal, a type of carbon that has a large surface area and strong negative charge. Charcoal works by binding to chemicals whose molecules have positive charges, such as polar mycotoxins, BPA, and common pesticides. Once these chemicals attach to the charcoal, toxins are able to pass them through the digestive system normally.
- It is important to note that charcoal can also bind to good stuff, so make sure not to take it within an hour of other supplements or food. A good idea is taking 1-2 charcoal pills along with exercise or during a sauna session. They can work to absorb many of the toxins individuals release into their gut and GI tract.
- Here is a list of natural toxin binders to help you continuously move toxins from your system to keep you from herxing in the future: 8 Natural Toxin Binders Every Lyme Patient Should Know
- If you know you have long-term toxins stored in your system (i.e. fat-soluble toxins), here are ways to remove them: 7 Ways to Remove Fat-Soluble Toxins
The above material is provided for informational purposes only. The material is not nor should be considered a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.